William Martin has been a student of the Tao for almost 20years. A graduate of the University of California and Western Theological Seminary, he is the author of The Parent's Tao Te Ching, The Couple's Tao Te Ching, and The Sage's Tao Te Ching. Today he and his wife Nancy operate The Still Point, a center for practice of Taoist/Zen meditation in Chico, California.

In this paperback, Martin presents his translation of Lao-tzu's classic work and adds a section designed to mine the practical meanings of Tao's themes in depth. Lao-tzu was a Chinese sage who was neither a priest nor a follower of any religious belief system. He was a patient observer of the natural world and all the lessons that could be picked up from the flow of water, the movement of the winds, the flight of birds, the contentment of a turtle in the mud, and the coming and going of the seasons. "He came to understand that this wonder cannot be captured by words and concepts. It can be talked about, yet never captured. It can be thought about, yet never fathomed. It can only be experienced."

On these pages, you will find Lao-tzu's lyrical tributes to living in the present moment, seeing the polarities of life in a positive way, accepting the Divine Feminine in all things, savoring one's experience and letting go, walking the path of gentleness and flexibility, sitting still in silence, being hospitable to all, practicing simplicity, moving beyond praise and blame, and watching things with "the detached interest of a newborn." The author has done a fine job giving us a vivid sense of the profundity of this spiritual classic and its relevance to our lives. Here is a sample passage from Martin's translation of the Tao Te Ching:

Beauty cannot exist
without ugliness.
Virtue cannot exist
without vice.
Living, we know death.
Struggling, we know ease.
Rising high, we know the depths,
Being quiet, we understand noise.

Everything gives rise to its opposite,
therefore we work without conscious effort,
and teach without agenda.
We enjoy everything
and possess nothing.
Our accomplishments
do not emerge from our ego,
so we do not cling to them.
Thus they benefit all things.